Today's poem is by Dorianne Laux

Over The Hedge

We labor in the backyard, weeding,
pulling stones like tumors up
from the hardened clay, lumpy
ogre-piles of rock-clod-weed:
scare-crowish. Back to bent back,
we are tin-foil and matchstick, stooped
over our rakes like Van Gogh's long dead
Hay Makers, though maybe happier
in our work, work that brings forth
little more than a few ratty tomatoes,
knobby volunteer potatoes, the odd
renegade squash. We leave in the wild
carrots and hollow onion stalks, dead-head
the gangly rogue rose we've grown to love
like a headstrong adolescent boy.
It's mostly exercise for the quickly aging here:
fresh air, a loss of self-consciousness, to be
without thought among the reedy weeds,
brushing gnats front our eyes, pollen-
fingered, followed by bursts of orgiastic
sneezing, stopping us in our tracks.
We tug up feeder root saplings, knowing
in some distant way that without us
this garden will, in a few untended years,
become a forest of oak and ash,
the lilac, thriving now, will become stunted,
shriveled, curled up like an old woman
in the deadly hemlock shade. This patch
of grass we stand in, freshly mown,
will dwindle to a few scruffy tufts,
and the porch with its new coat
of off-white paint is really nothing more
than a future ladder for the un-removable
morning glory. And the ivy will crawl down
from its banks in a slow green wave
to cover the driveway's broken shore,
then climb our shingled house, growing over
the windows we washed just last week,
one inside, one out, rags in our hands,
working circles in tandem, making
faces at each other through the glass.

Copyright © 2008 Dorianne Laux All rights reserved
from Columbia Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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